How Does an Accelerated Nursing Program Work, and Will It Work for You?

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Launch your career with an Accelerated Nursing program - two nurses working together

If you’re looking for a meaningful career change, an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program may be right for you. When considering how nursing school would fit into your life, it’s important to discuss all the details of the program.

In this blog, we’ll help answer lingering questions such as, what is an accelerated nursing program like, and how does an accelerated nursing program work for everyday students?

We will walk you through the timeline, then we’ll go over the ideal candidate and why students choose an ABSN. Finally, we’ll delve into the structure of our ABSN program’s three learning environments.

What is an Accelerated Nursing Program?

Accelerated nursing programs are designed to give you credit for previously completed college coursework, allowing you to graduate with a BSN degree in less time than it would take in a traditional program. In accelerated nursing programs, students can generally complete their ABSN program in as few as 16 months (with the sufficient prerequisites).

ABSN programs also typically offer multiple start dates per year, so you don’t have to wait to apply. This means you can start right away and truly make the most of your time.

It is also important to note that in an ABSN program, the coursework moves quickly. You should expect a rigorous curriculum. In an accelerated program, you will learn all the same material you would in a traditional BSN program; you will simply learn it more quickly. Plus, you will still gain all the required hours of clinical experience as you would in a traditional program.

Who Can Apply for an ABSN Program?

Let’s walk through what we’re looking for in accelerated nursing program applicants. ABSN programs are for students wanting to switch to nursing after already completing some or all of college. If you have finished 60 non-nursing college credits or have a bachelor’s degree in another field, then you will be ideal for jumping into an accelerated nursing program.

ABSN programs are generally pre-licensure programs, meaning that they are for those who are not already practicing as a nurse. If you are already a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or have an Associate Degree in Nursing, then you’ll want to explore another program that will bridge from your current degree to a BSN.

For our ABSN program, you will also need certain course prerequisites before starting. You can delve further into CSP’s specific requirements by visiting our prerequisite page.

The biggest factor Concordia St. Paul looks for in our students is passion for nursing and patient care. We want to teach the next generation of nurses, and if you have a heart for patients, then you will fit right in.

Why Choose an ABSN Over Other Nursing Programs?

When you’re considering all the options for nursing school, it’s essential to understand the differences between each type of program. Why would a student choose an ABSN program over an ADN, and what are the advantages of an online hybrid program? We’ll dive into all the details for you.

Accelerated vs Traditional

The obvious benefit to enrolling in an accelerated nursing program compared to a traditional program is that you will finish your studies in a relatively short timeframe. This will allow you to enter the job market sooner.

two ABSN students working in simulation lab

Online vs On-Campus

Having a hybrid ABSN program provides more flexibility than the 100% on-campus method. Though you still need to meet in person for labs and clinicals, a hybrid ABSN program provides flexibility to study your course materials at a time and in a place that works for you.


Compared to other nursing degrees like an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), earning a BSN will open more doors and provide greater career growth as a nurse. Many hospitals prefer BSN educated nurses, so this degree sets you up to get better jobs and have higher compensation compared to nurses with an associate degree.

Other Advanced Degrees

Having a BSN also puts you on track to pursue an advanced education such as in a nurse practitioner program. The MSN or DNP programs are master’s and doctorate degrees in nursing that you can pursue in the future if you want to advance your nursing career further.

The Nitty Gritty: How Does an Accelerated Nursing Program Work at CSP?

Now that you understand some basic information about ABSN programs in general, let’s talk about how CSP’s ABSN program is structured.

Our accelerated BSN program at Concordia University St. Paul comprises three major elements:

Online Coursework

Your coursework will be delivered using an intuitive e-Learning platform. You will study fundamentals of nursing theory, public health policies, pharmacology principles and more. We have developed our courses to appeal to a variety of learning preferences. The material will include interactive exercises, audio/visual components and online quizzes, to name a few.

ABSN student using laptop

The material you learn in your online nursing coursework will correspond with what you’re doing in labs and clinicals, allowing you to master the content through hands-on experience.

You might wonder about interacting with faculty and fellow students while learning online. At Concordia, classmates and instructors are easy to reach through our online learning management system’s (LMS) built-in chat function and discussion boards. Your instructors will also make themselves available via in-person and virtual office hours, telephone and email.

One of the greatest benefits of online coursework is that you can complete it whenever and wherever it’s convenient for you. Of course, you will still have deadlines and expectations, but you can choose the time of day and location that works best.

Hands-On Labs

With Concordia’s ABSN program, you will enjoy hands-on learning through our state-of-the-art nursing simulation and skills labs at one of our two ABSN learning sites in Portland or at our dedicated site in St. Paul. These labs mimic real-world healthcare facilities and provide a safe environment where you can hone your skills and knowledge.

In skills lab, you’ll learn how to conduct head-to-toe nursing assessments, insert IVs and catheters, care for wounds and more. You will practice on medical manikins so you can learn from your mistakes without putting patients at risk.

In simulation lab, you will sharpen your decision-making skills in mock healthcare scenarios featuring medical manikins. These manikins not only blink and breathe, but they also exhibit various symptoms. Instructors guide the manikins behind the scenes while you respond in real time.

Skills and simulation labs prepare you for clinical experiences and build your confidence by allowing you to make mistakes and practice the hands-on skills ahead of time.

three CSP nursing students standing in lab

Clinical Rotations

Students complete clinical rotations at various healthcare facilities in and around Portland or St. Paul. During this hands-on portion of our program, students experience a variety of practice areas, including mental health, intensive care, oncology, pediatrics and more. First, students shadow other nurses. Eventually, they learn to perform patient care under supervision.

Clinical rotations are a key element of nursing education because they allow students to practice their skills in the real-world environment. Students learn directly from experienced nurses, and they get to see the full scope of nursing responsibilities.

Clinical rotations will sharpen your skills while also helping you get a sense of what type of nursing you find most compelling for your career.

How Does the NCLEX Fit into an ABSN Program?

Once you graduate from an accelerated nursing program, you must complete one more step before you can become a registered nurse: passing the NCLEX-RN®. Administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the NCLEX is designed to ensure nursing school graduates have the basic skills and knowledge to provide safe, effective entry-level nursing care.

On top of your online coursework, skills labs and clinicals, the CSP ABSN program will prepare you to sit for the NCLEX with confidence. Throughout your time at CSP, you will practice answering NCLEX-style questions so you are ready to excel on test day.

Nursing: More Than a Career

nursing textbooks on a desk

Now that you can see how an accelerated nursing program works, you can see it is not easy, but it is worth it. A career in nursing provides more than a steady income and job security — it provides sense of purpose and an opportunity to care for others.

Our tight-knit campus community promotes supportive student-faculty relationships and spiritual growth. At CSP, you will learn to care for the whole patient — in body, mind and spirit. This holistic approach to education will prepare you to champion health, provide quality care and exhibit leadership — not just within healthcare organizations, but throughout the community.

Whether you’re ready to apply or just have questions about our ABSN program, reach out to one of our admissions counselors to contact you directly.